Amelia Volume III
Part 4 out of 5
the whole face of nature looks with a pleasing and smiling aspect,
suddenly a dark cloud spreads itself over the hemisphere, the sun
vanishes from our sight, and every object is obscured by a dark and
horrid gloom; so happened it to Amelia: the joy that had enlightened
every feature disappeared in a moment; the lustre forsook her shining
eyes, and all the little loves that played and wantoned in her cheeks
hung their drooping heads, and with a faint trembling voice she
repeated her husband's words, "Not sup with me to-night, my dear!"
"Indeed, my dear," answered he, "I cannot. I need not tell you how
uneasy it makes me, or that I am as much disappointed as yourself; but
I am engaged to sup abroad. I have absolutely given my honour; and
besides, it is on business of importance."
"My dear," said she, "I say no more. I am convinced you would not
willingly sup from me. I own it is a very particular disappointment to
me to-night, when I had proposed unusual pleasure; but the same reason
which is sufficient to you ought to be so to me."
Booth made his wife a compliment on her ready compliance, and then
asked her what she intended by giving him that money, or how she came
"I intend, my dear," said she, "to give it you; that is all. As to the
manner in which I came by it, you know, Billy, that is not very
material. You are well assured I got it by no means which would
displease you; and, perhaps, another time I may tell you."
Booth asked no farther questions; but he returned her, and insisted on
her taking, all but one guinea, saying she was the safest treasurer.
He then promised her to make all the haste home in his power, and he
hoped, he said, to be with her in an hour and half at farthest, and
then took his leave.
When he was gone the poor disappointed Amelia sat down to supper with
her children, with whose company she was forced to console herself for
the absence of her husband.
_A very tragic scene._
The clock had struck eleven, and Amelia was just proceeding to put her
children to bed, when she heard a knock at the street-door; upon which
the boy cried out, "There's papa, mamma; pray let me stay and see him
before I go to bed." This was a favour very easily obtained; for
Amelia instantly ran down-stairs, exulting in the goodness of her
husband for returning so soon, though half an hour was already elapsed
beyond the time in which he promised to return.
Poor Amelia was now again disappointed; for it was not her husband at
the door, but a servant with a letter for him, which he delivered into
her hands. She immediately returned up-stairs, and said--"It was not
your papa, my dear; but I hope it is one who hath brought us some good
news." For Booth had told her that he hourly expected to receive such
from the great man, and had desired her to open any letter which came
to him in his absence.
Amelia therefore broke open the letter, and read as follows:
"SIR,--After what hath passed between us, I need only tell you that I
know you supped this very night alone with Miss Matthews: a fact which
will upbraid you sufficiently, without putting me to that trouble, and
will very well account for my desiring the favour of seeing you to-
morrow in Hyde-park at six in the morning. You will forgive me
reminding you once more how inexcusable this behaviour is in you, who
are possessed in your own wife of the most inestimable jewel.
I shall bring pistols with me."
It is not easy to describe the agitation of Amelia's mind when she
read this letter. She threw herself into her chair, turned as pale as
death, began to tremble all over, and had just power enough left to
tap the bottle of wine, which she had hitherto preserved entire for
her husband, and to drink off a large bumper.
The little boy perceived the strange symptoms which appeared in his
mother; and running to her, he cried, "What's the matter, my dear
mamma? you don't look well!--No harm hath happened to poor papa, I
hope--Sure that bad man hath not carried him away again?"
Amelia answered, "No, child, nothing--nothing at all." And then a
large shower of tears came to her assistance, which presently after
produced the same in the eyes of both the children.
Amelia, after a short silence, looking tenderly at her children, cried
out, "It is too much, too much to bear. Why did I bring these little
wretches into the world? why were these innocents born to such a
fate?" She then threw her arms round them both (for they were before
embracing her knees), and cried, "O my children! my children! forgive
me, my babes! Forgive me that I have brought you into such a world as
this! You are undone--my children are undone!"
The little boy answered with great spirit, "How undone, mamma? my
sister and I don't care a farthing for being undone. Don't cry so upon
our accounts--we are both very well; indeed we are. But do pray tell
us. I am sure some accident hath happened to poor papa."
"Mention him no more," cries Amelia; "your papa is--indeed he is a
wicked man--he cares not for any of us. O Heavens! is this the
happiness I promised myself this evening?" At which words she fell
into an agony, holding both her children in her arms.
The maid of the house now entered the room, with a letter in her hand
which she had received from a porter, whose arrival the reader will
not wonder to have been unheard by Amelia in her present condition.
The maid, upon her entrance into the room, perceiving the situation of
Amelia, cried out, "Good Heavens! madam, what's the matter?" Upon
which Amelia, who had a little recovered herself after the last
violent vent of her passion, started up and cried, "Nothing, Mrs.
Susan--nothing extraordinary. I am subject to these fits sometimes;
but I am very well now. Come, my dear children, I am very well again;
indeed I am. You must now go to bed; Mrs. Susan will be so good as to
put you to bed."
"But why doth not papa love us?" cries the little boy. "I am sure we
have none of us done anything to disoblige him."
This innocent question of the child so stung Amelia that she had the
utmost difficulty to prevent a relapse. However, she took another dram
of wine; for so it might be called to her, who was the most temperate
of women, and never exceeded three glasses on any occasion. In this
glass she drank her children's health, and soon after so well soothed
and composed them that they went quietly away with Mrs. Susan.
The maid, in the shock she had conceived at the melancholy, indeed
frightful scene, which had presented itself to her at her first coming
into the room, had quite forgot the letter which she held in her hand.
However, just at her departure she recollected it, and delivered it to
Amelia, who was no sooner alone than she opened it, and read as
"MY DEAREST, SWEETEST LOVE,--I write this from the bailiff's house
where I was formerly, and to which I am again brought at the suit of
that villain Trent. I have the misfortune to think I owe this accident
(I mean that it happened to-night) to my own folly in endeavouring to
keep a secret from you. O my dear! had I had resolution to confess my
crime to you, your forgiveness would, I am convinced, have cost me
only a few blushes, and I had now been happy in your arms. Fool that I
was, to leave you on such an account, and to add to a former
transgression a new one!--Yet, by Heavens! I mean not a transgression
of the like kind; for of that I am not nor ever will be guilty; and
when you know the true reason of my leaving you to-night I think you
will pity rather than upbraid me. I am sure you would if you knew the
compunction with which I left you to go to the most worthless, the
most infamous. Do guess the rest--guess that crime with which I cannot
stain my paper--but still believe me no more guilty than I am, or, if
it will lessen your vexation at what hath befallen me, believe me as
guilty as you please, and think me, for a while at least, as
undeserving of you as I think myself. This paper and pen are so bad, I
question whether you can read what I write: I almost doubt whether I
wish you should. Yet this I will endeavour to make as legible as I
can. Be comforted, my dear love, and still keep up your spirits with
the hopes of better days. The doctor will be in town to-morrow, and I
trust on his goodness for my delivery once more from this place, and
that I shall soon be able to repay him. That Heaven may bless and
preserve you is the prayer of, my dearest love,
Your ever fond, affectionate,
and hereafter, faithful husband,
Amelia pretty well guessed the obscure meaning of this letter, which,
though at another time it might have given her unspeakable torment,
was at present rather of the medicinal kind, and served to allay her
anguish. Her anger to Booth too began a little to abate, and was
softened by her concern for his misfortune. Upon the whole, however,
she passed a miserable and sleepless night, her gentle mind torn and
distracted with various and contending passions, distressed with
doubts, and wandering in a kind of twilight which presented her only
objects of different degrees of horror, and where black despair closed
at a small distance the gloomy prospect.
_The book begins with polite history._
Before we return to the miserable couple, whom we left at the end of
the last book, we will give our reader the more chearful view of the
gay and happy family of Colonel James.
Mrs. James, when she could not, as we have seen, prevail with Amelia
to accept that invitation which, at the desire of the colonel, she had
so kindly and obediently carried her, returned to her husband and
acquainted him with the ill success of her embassy; at which, to say
the truth, she was almost as much disappointed as the colonel himself;
for he had not taken a much stronger liking to Amelia than she herself
had conceived for Booth. This will account for some passages which may
have a little surprized the reader in the former chapters of this
history, as we were not then at leisure to communicate to them a hint
of this kind; it was, indeed, on Mr. Booth's account that she had been
at the trouble of changing her dress at the masquerade.
But her passions of this sort, happily for her, were not extremely
strong; she was therefore easily baulked; and, as she met with no
encouragement from Booth, she soon gave way to the impetuosity of Miss
Matthews, and from that time scarce thought more of the affair till
her husband's design against the wife revived her's likewise; insomuch
that her passion was at this time certainly strong enough for Booth,
to produce a good hearty hatred for Amelia, whom she now abused to the
colonel in very gross terms, both on the account of her poverty and
her insolence, for so she termed the refusal of all her offers.
The colonel, seeing no hopes of soon possessing his new mistress,
began, like a prudent and wise man, to turn his thoughts towards the
securing his old one. From what his wife had mentioned concerning the
behaviour of the shepherdess, and particularly her preference of
Booth, he had little doubt but that this was the identical Miss
Matthews. He resolved therefore to watch her closely, in hopes of
discovering Booth's intrigue with her. In this, besides the remainder
of affection which he yet preserved for that lady, he had another
view, as it would give him a fair pretence to quarrel with Booth; who,
by carrying on this intrigue, would have broke his word and honour
given to him. And he began now to hate poor Booth heartily, from the
same reason from which Mrs. James had contracted her aversion to
The colonel therefore employed an inferior kind of pimp to watch the
lodgings of Miss Matthews, and to acquaint him if Booth, whose person
was known to the pimp, made any visit there.
The pimp faithfully performed his office, and, having last night made
the wished-for discovery, immediately acquainted his master with it.
Upon this news the colonel presently despatched to Booth the short
note which we have before seen. He sent it to his own house instead of
Miss Matthews's, with hopes of that very accident which actually did
happen. Not that he had any ingredient of the bully in him, and
desired to be prevented from fighting, but with a prospect of injuring
Booth in the affection and esteem of Amelia, and of recommending
himself somewhat to her by appearing in the light of her champion; for
which purpose he added that compliment to Amelia in his letter. He
concluded upon the whole that, if Booth himself opened the letter, he
would certainly meet him the next morning; but if his wife should open
it before he came home it might have the effects before mentioned;
and, for his future expostulation with Booth, it would not be in
Amelia's power to prevent it.
Now it happened that this pimp had more masters than one. Amongst
these was the worthy Mr. Trent, for whom he had often done business of
the pimping vocation. He had been employed indeed in the service of
the great peer himself, under the direction of the said Trent, and was
the very person who had assisted the said Trent in dogging Booth and
his wife to the opera-house on the masquerade night.
This subaltern pimp was with his superior Trent yesterday morning,
when he found a bailiff with him in order to receive his instructions
for the arresting Booth, when the bailiff said it would be a very
difficult matter to take him, for that to his knowledge he was as shy
a cock as any in England. The subaltern immediately acquainted Trent
with the business in which he was employed by the colonel; upon which
Trent enjoined him the moment he had set him to give immediate notice
to the bailiff, which he agreed to, and performed accordingly.
The bailiff, on receiving the notice, immediately set out for his
stand at an alehouse within three doors of Miss Matthews's lodgings;
at which, unfortunately for poor Booth, he arrived a very few minutes
before Booth left that lady in order to return to Amelia.
These were several matters of which we thought necessary our reader
should be informed; for, besides that it conduces greatly to a perfect
understanding of all history, there is no exercise of the mind of a
sensible reader more pleasant than the tracing the several small and
almost imperceptible links in every chain of events by which all the
great actions of the world are produced. We will now in the next
chapter proceed with our history.
_In which Amelia visits her husband._
Amelia, after much anxious thinking, in which she sometimes flattered
herself that her husband was less guilty than she had at first
imagined him, and that he had some good excuse to make for himself
(for, indeed, she was not so able as willing to make one for him), at
length resolved to set out for the bailiff's castle. Having therefore
strictly recommended the care of her children to her good landlady,
she sent for a hackney coach, and ordered the coachman to drive to
When she came to the house, and asked for the captain, the bailiff's
wife, who came to the door, guessing, by the greatness of her beauty
and the disorder of her dress, that she was a young lady of pleasure,
answered surlily, "Captain! I do not know of any captain that is here,
not I!" For this good woman was, as well as dame Purgante in Prior, a
bitter enemy to all whores, especially to those of the handsome kind;
for some such she suspected to go shares with her in a certain
property to which the law gave her the sole right.
Amelia replied she was certain that Captain Booth was there. "Well, if
he is so," cries the bailiff's wife, "you may come into the kitchen if
you will, and he shall be called down to you if you have any business
with him." At the same time she muttered something to herself, and
concluded a little more intelligibly, though still in a muttering
voice, that she kept no such house.
Amelia, whose innocence gave her no suspicion of the true cause of
this good woman's sullenness, was frightened, and began to fear she
knew not what. At last she made a shift to totter into the kitchen,
when the mistress of the house asked her, "Well, madam, who shall I
tell the captain wants to speak with him?"
"I ask your pardon, madam," cries Amelia; "in my confusion I really
forgot you did not know me--tell him, if you please, that I am his
"And you are indeed his wife, madam?" cries Mrs. Bailiff, a little
"Yes, indeed, and upon my honour," answers Amelia.
"If this be the case," cries the other, "you may walk up-stairs if you
please. Heaven forbid I should part man and wife! Indeed, I think they
can never be too much together. But I never will suffer any bad doings
in my house, nor any of the town ladies to come to gentlemen here."
Amelia answered that she liked her the better: for, indeed, in her
present disposition, Amelia was as much exasperated against wicked
women as the virtuous mistress of the house, or any other virtuous
woman could be.
The bailiff's wife then ushered Amelia up-stairs, and, having unlocked
the prisoner's doors, cried, "Captain, here is your lady, sir, come to
see you." At which words Booth started up from his chair, and caught
Amelia in his arms, embracing her for a considerable time with so much
rapture, that the bailiff's wife, who was an eyewitness of this
violent fondness, began to suspect whether Amelia had really told her
truth. However, she had some little awe of the captain; and for fear
of being in the wrong did not interfere, but shut the door and turned
When Booth found himself alone with his wife, and had vented the first
violence of his rapture in kisses and embraces, he looked tenderly at
her and cried, "Is it possible, Amelia, is it possible you can have
this goodness to follow such a wretch as me to such a place as this--
or do you come to upbraid me with my guilt, and to sink me down to
that perdition I so justly deserve?"
"Am I so given to upbraiding then?" says she, in a gentle voice; "have
I ever given you occasion to think I would sink you to perdition?"
"Far be it from me, my love, to think so," answered he. "And yet you
may forgive the utmost fears of an offending, penitent sinner. I know,
indeed, the extent of your goodness, and yet I know my guilt so
"Alas! Mr. Booth," said she, "what guilt is this which you mention,
and which you writ to me of last night?--Sure, by your mentioning to
me so much, you intend to tell me more--nay, indeed, to tell me all;
and not leave my mind open to suspicions perhaps ten times worse than
"Will you give me a patient hearing?" said he.
"I will indeed," answered she, "nay, I am prepared to hear the worst
you can unfold; nay, perhaps, the worst is short of my apprehensions."
Booth then, after a little further apology, began and related to her
the whole that had passed between him and Miss Matthews, from their
first meeting in the prison to their separation the preceding evening.
All which, as the reader knows it already, it would be tedious and
unpardonable to transcribe from his mouth. He told her likewise all
that he had done and suffered to conceal his transgression from her
knowledge. This he assured her was the business of his visit last
night, the consequence of which was, he declared in the most solemn
manner, no other than an absolute quarrel with Miss Matthews, of whom
he had taken a final leave.
When he had ended his narration, Amelia, after a short silence,
answered, "Indeed, I firmly believe every word you have said, but I
cannot now forgive you the fault you have confessed; and my reason is
--because I have forgiven it long ago. Here, my dear," said she, "is
instance that I am likewise capable of keeping a secret."--She then
delivered her husband a letter which she had some time ago received
from Miss Matthews, and which was the same which that lady had
mentioned, and supposed, as Booth had never heard of it, that it had
miscarried; for she sent it by the penny post. In this letter, which
was signed by a feigned name, she had acquainted Amelia with the
infidelity of her husband, and had besides very greatly abused him;
taxing him with many falsehoods, and, among the rest, with having
spoken very slightingly and disrespectfully of his wife.
Amelia never shined forth to Booth in so amiable and great a light;
nor did his own unworthiness ever appear to him so mean and
contemptible as at this instant. However, when he had read the letter,
he uttered many violent protestations to her, that all which related
to herself was absolutely false.
"I am convinced it is," said she. "I would not have a suspicion of the
contrary for the world. I assure you I had, till last night revived it
in my memory, almost forgot the letter; for, as I well knew from whom
it came, by her mentioning obligations which she had conferred on you,
and which you had more than once spoken to me of, I made large
allowances for the situation you was then in; and I was the more
satisfied, as the letter itself, as well as many other circumstances,
convinced me the affair was at an end."
Booth now uttered the most extravagant expressions of admiration and
fondness that his heart could dictate, and accompanied them with the
warmest embraces. All which warmth and tenderness she returned; and
tears of love and joy gushed from both their eyes. So ravished indeed
were their hearts, that for some time they both forgot the dreadful
situation of their affairs.
This, however, was but a short reverie. It soon recurred to Amelia,
that, though she had the liberty of leaving that house when she
pleased, she could not take her beloved husband with her. This thought
stung her tender bosom to the quick, and she could not so far command
herself as to refrain from many sorrowful exclamations against the
hardship of their destiny; but when she saw the effect they had upon
Booth she stifled her rising grief, forced a little chearfulness into
her countenance, and, exerting all the spirits she could raise within
herself, expressed her hopes of seeing a speedy end to their
sufferings. She then asked her husband what she should do for him, and
to whom she should apply for his deliverance?
"You know, my dear," cries Booth, "that the doctor is to be in town
some time to-day. My hopes of immediate redemption are only in him;
and, if that can be obtained, I make no doubt but of the success of
that affair which is in the hands of a gentleman who hath faithfully
promised, and in whose power I am so well assured it is to serve me."
Thus did this poor man support his hopes by a dependence on that
ticket which he had so dearly purchased of one who pretended to manage
the wheels in the great state lottery of preferment. A lottery,
indeed, which hath this to recommend it--that many poor wretches feed
their imaginations with the prospect of a prize during their whole
lives, and never discover they have drawn a blank.
Amelia, who was of a pretty sanguine temper, and was entirely ignorant
of these matters, was full as easy to be deceived into hopes as her
husband; but in reality at present she turned her eyes to no distant
prospect, the desire of regaining her husband's liberty having
engrossed her whole mind.
While they were discoursing on these matters they heard a violent
noise in the house, and immediately after several persons passed by
their door up-stairs to the apartment over their head. This greatly
terrified the gentle spirit of Amelia, and she cried--"Good Heavens,
my dear, must I leave you in this horrid place? I am terrified with a
thousand fears concerning you."
Booth endeavoured to comfort her, saying that he was in no manner of
danger, and that he doubted not but that the doctor would soon be with
him--"And stay, my dear," cries he; "now I recollect, suppose you
should apply to my old friend James; for I believe you are pretty well
satisfied that your apprehensions of him were groundless. I have no
reason to think but that he would be as ready to serve me as
Amelia turned pale as ashes at the name of James, and, instead of
making a direct answer to her husband, she laid hold of him, and
cried, "My dear, I have one favour to beg of you, and I insist on your
granting it me."
Booth readily swore he would deny her nothing.
"It is only this, my dear," said she, "that, if that detested colonel
comes, you will not see him. Let the people of the house tell him you
are not here."
"He knows nothing of my being here," answered Booth; "but why should I
refuse to see him if he should be kind enough to come hither to me?
Indeed, my Amelia, you have taken a dislike to that man without
"I speak not upon that account," cries Amelia; "but I have had dreams
last night about you two. Perhaps you will laugh at my folly, but pray
indulge it. Nay, I insist on your promise of not denying me."
"Dreams! my dear creature," answered he. "What dream can you have had
"One too horrible to be mentioned," replied she.--"I cannot think of
it without horrour; and, unless you will promise me not to see the
colonel till I return, I positively will never leave you."
"Indeed, my Amelia," said Booth, "I never knew you unreasonable
before. How can a woman of your sense talk of dreams?"
"Suffer me to be once at least unreasonable," said Amelia, "as you are
so good-natured to say I am not often so. Consider what I have lately
suffered, and how weak my spirits must be at this time."
As Booth was going to speak, the bailiff, without any ceremony,
entered the room, and cried, "No offence, I hope, madam; my wife, it
seems, did not know you. She thought the captain had a mind for a bit
of flesh by the bye. But I have quieted all matters; for I know you
very well: I have seen that handsome face many a time when I have been
waiting upon the captain formerly. No offence, I hope, madam; but if
my wife was as handsome as you are I should not look for worse goods
Booth conceived some displeasure at this speech, but he did not think
proper to express more than a pish; and then asked the bailiff what
was the meaning of the noise they heard just now?
"I know of no noise," answered the bailiff. "Some of my men have been
carrying a piece of bad luggage up-stairs; a poor rascal that resisted
the law and justice; so I gave him a cut or two with a hanger. If they
should prove mortal, he must thank himself for it. If a man will not
behave like a gentleman to an officer, he must take the consequence;
but I must say that for you, captain, you behave yourself like a
gentleman, and therefore I shall always use you as such; and I hope
you will find bail soon with all my heart. This is but a paultry sum
to what the last was; and I do assure you there is nothing else
against you in the office."
The latter part of the bailiff's speech somewhat comforted Amelia, who
had been a little frightened by the former; and she soon after took
leave of her husband to go in quest of the doctor, who, as Amelia had
heard that morning, was expected in town that very day, which was
somewhat sooner than he had intended at his departure.
Before she went, however, she left a strict charge with the bailiff,
who ushered her very civilly downstairs, that if one Colonel James
came there to enquire for her husband he should deny that he was
She then departed; and the bailiff immediately gave a very strict
charge to his wife, his maid, and his followers, that if one Colonel
James, or any one from him, should enquire after the captain, that
they should let him know he had the captain above-stairs; for he
doubted not but that the colonel was one of Booth's creditors, and he
hoped for a second bail-bond by his means.
_Containing matter pertinent to the history._
Amelia, in her way to the doctor's, determined just to stop at her own
lodgings, which lay a little out of the road, and to pay a momentary
visit to her children.
This was fortunate enough; for, had she called at the doctor's house,
she would have heard nothing of him, which would have caused in her
some alarm and disappointment; for the doctor was set down at Mrs.
Atkinson's, where he was directed to Amelia's lodgings, to which he
went before he called at his own; and here Amelia now found him
playing with her two children.
The doctor had been a little surprized at not finding Amelia at home,
or any one that could give an account of her. He was now more
surprized to see her come in such a dress, and at the disorder which
he very plainly perceived in her pale and melancholy countenance. He
addressed her first (for indeed she was in no great haste to speak),
and cried, "My dear child, what is the matter? where is your husband?
some mischief I am afraid hath happened to him in my absence."
"O my dear doctor!" answered Amelia, "sure some good angel hath sent
you hither. My poor Will is arrested again. I left him in the most
miserable condition in the very house whence your goodness formerly
"Arrested!" cries the doctor. "Then it must be for some very
"I wish it was," said Amelia; "but it is for no less than fifty
"Then," cries the doctor, "he hath been disingenuous with me. He told
me he did not owe ten pounds in the world for which he was liable to
"I know not what to say," cries Amelia. "Indeed, I am afraid to tell
you the truth."
"How, child?" said the doctor--"I hope you will never disguise it to
any one, especially to me. Any prevarication, I promise you, will
forfeit my friendship for ever."
"I will tell you the whole," cries Amelia, "and rely entirely on your
goodness." She then related the gaming story, not forgetting to set in
the fullest light, and to lay the strongest emphasis on, his promise
never to play again.
The doctor fetched a deep sigh when he had heard Amelia's relation,
and cried, "I am sorry, child, for the share you are to partake in
your husband's sufferings; but as for him, I really think he deserves
no compassion. You say he hath promised never to play again, but I
must tell you he hath broke his promise to me already; for I had heard
he was formerly addicted to this vice, and had given him sufficient
caution against it. You will consider, child, I am already pretty
largely engaged for him, every farthing of which I am sensible I must
pay. You know I would go to the utmost verge of prudence to serve you;
but I must not exceed my ability, which is not very great; and I have
several families on my hands who are by misfortune alone brought to
want. I do assure you I cannot at present answer for such a sum as
this without distressing my own circumstances."
"Then Heaven have mercy upon us all!" cries Amelia, "for we have no
other friend on earth: my husband is undone, and these poor little
wretches must be starved."
The doctor cast his eyes on the children, and then cried, "I hope not
so. I told you I must distress my circumstances, and I will distress
them this once on your account, and on the account of these poor
little babes. But things must not go on any longer in this way. You
must take an heroic resolution. I will hire a coach for you to-morrow
morning which shall carry you all down to my parsonage-house. There
you shall have my protection till something can be done for your
husband; of which, to be plain with you, I at present see no
Amelia fell upon her knees in an ecstasy of thanksgiving to the
doctor, who immediately raised her up, and placed her in her chair.
She then recollected herself, and said, "O my worthy friend, I have
still another matter to mention to you, in which I must have both your
advice and assistance. My soul blushes to give you all this trouble;
but what other friend have I?--indeed, what other friend could I apply
to so properly on such an occasion?"
The doctor, with a very kind voice and countenance, desired her to
speak. She then said, "O sir! that wicked colonel whom I have
mentioned to you formerly hath picked some quarrel with my husband
(for she did not think proper to mention the cause), and hath sent him
a challenge. It came to my hand last night after he was arrested: I
opened and read it."
"Give it me, child," said the doctor.
She answered she had burnt it, as was indeed true. "But I remember it
was an appointment to meet with sword and pistol this morning at Hyde-
"Make yourself easy, my dear child," cries the doctor; "I will take
care to prevent any mischief."
"But consider, my dear sir," said she, "this is a tender matter. My
husband's honour is to be preserved as well as his life."
"And so is his soul, which ought to be the dearest of all things,"
cries the doctor. "Honour! nonsense! Can honour dictate to him to
disobey the express commands of his Maker, in compliance with a custom
established by a set of blockheads, founded on false principles of
virtue, in direct opposition to the plain and positive precepts of
religion, and tending manifestly to give a sanction to ruffians, and
to protect them in all the ways of impudence and villany?"
"All this, I believe, is very true," cries Amelia; "but yet you know,
doctor, the opinion of the world."
"You talk simply, child," cries the doctor. "What is the opinion of
the world opposed to religion and virtue? but you are in the wrong. It
is not the opinion of the world; it is the opinion of the idle,
ignorant, and profligate. It is impossible it should be the opinion of
one man of sense, who is in earnest in his belief of our religion.
Chiefly, indeed, it hath been upheld by the nonsense of women, who,
either from their extreme cowardice and desire of protection, or, as
Mr. Bayle thinks, from their excessive vanity, have been always
forward to countenance a set of hectors and bravoes, and to despise
all men of modesty and sobriety; though these are often, at the
bottom, not only the better but the braver men."
"You know, doctor," cries Amelia, "I have never presumed to argue with
you; your opinion is to me always instruction, and your word a law."
"Indeed, child," cries the doctor, "I know you are a good woman; and
yet I must observe to you, that this very desire of feeding the
passion of female vanity with the heroism of her man, old Homer seems
to make the characteristic of a bad and loose woman. He introduces
Helen upbraiding her gallant with having quitted the fight, and left
the victory to Menelaus, and seeming to be sorry that she had left her
husband only because he was the better duellist of the two: but in how
different a light doth he represent the tender and chaste love of
Andromache to her worthy Hector! she dissuades him from exposing
himself to danger, even in a just cause. This is indeed a weakness,
but it is an amiable one, and becoming the true feminine character;
but a woman who, out of heroic vanity (for so it is), would hazard not
only the life but the soul too of her husband in a duel, is a monster,
and ought to be painted in no other character but that of a Fury."
"I assure you, doctor," cries Amelia, "I never saw this matter in the
odious light in which you have truly represented it, before. I am
ashamed to recollect what I have formerly said on this subject. And
yet, whilst the opinion of the world is as it is, one would wish to
comply as far as possible, especially as my husband is an officer of
the army. If it can be done, therefore, with safety to his honour--"
"Again honour!" cries the doctor; "indeed I will not suffer that noble
word to be so basely and barbarously prostituted. I have known some of
these men of honour, as they call themselves, to be the most arrant
rascals in the universe."
"Well, I ask your pardon," said she; "reputation then, if you please,
or any other word you like better; you know my meaning very well."
"I do know your meaning," cries the doctor, "and Virgil knew it a
great while ago. The next time you see your friend Mrs. Atkinson, ask
her what it was made Dido fall in love with AEneas?"
"Nay, dear sir," said Amelia, "do not rally me so unmercifully; think
where my poor husband is now."
"He is," answered the doctor, "where I will presently be with him. In
the mean time, do you pack up everything in order for your journey to-
morrow; for if you are wise, you will not trust your husband a day
longer in this town--therefore to packing."
Amelia promised she would, though indeed she wanted not any warning
for her journey on this account; for when she packed up herself in the
coach, she packed up her all. However, she did not think proper to
mention this to the doctor; for, as he was now in pretty good humour,
she did not care to venture again discomposing his temper.
The doctor then set out for Gray's-inn-lane, and, as soon as he was
gone, Amelia began to consider of her incapacity to take a journey in
her present situation without even a clean shift. At last she
resolved, as she was possessed of seven guineas and a half, to go to
her friend and redeem some of her own and her husband's linen out of
captivity; indeed just so much as would render it barely possible for
them to go out of town with any kind of decency. And this resolution
she immediately executed.
As soon as she had finished her business with the pawnbroker (if a man
who lends under thirty _per cent._ deserves that name), he said
to her, "Pray, madam, did you know that man who was here yesterday
when you brought the picture?" Amelia answered in the negative.
"Indeed, madam," said the broker, "he knows you, though he did not
recollect you while you was here, as your hood was drawn over your
face; but the moment you was gone he begged to look at the picture,
which I, thinking no harm, permitted. He had scarce looked upon it
when he cried out, 'By heaven and earth it is her picture!' He then
asked me if I knew you." "Indeed," says I, "I never saw the lady
In this last particular, however, the pawnbroker a little savoured of
his profession, and made a small deviation from the truth, for, when
the man had asked him if he knew the lady, he answered she was some
poor undone woman who had pawned all her cloathes to him the day
before; and I suppose, says he, this picture is the last of her goods
and chattels. This hint we thought proper to give the reader, as it
may chance to be material.
Amelia answered coldly that she had taken so very little notice of the
man that she scarce remembered he was there.
"I assure you, madam," says the pawnbroker, "he hath taken very great
notice of you; for the man changed countenance upon what I said, and
presently after begged me to give him a dram. Oho! thinks I to myself,
are you thereabouts? I would not be so much in love with some folks as
some people are for more interest than I shall ever make of a thousand
Amelia blushed, and said, with some peevishness, "That she knew
nothing of the man, but supposed he was some impertinent fellow or
"Nay, madam," answered the pawnbroker, "I assure you he is not worthy
your regard. He is a poor wretch, and I believe I am possessed of most
of his moveables. However, I hope you are not offended, for indeed he
said no harm; but he was very strangely disordered, that is the truth
Amelia was very desirous of putting an end to this conversation, and
altogether as eager to return to her children; she therefore bundled
up her things as fast as she could, and, calling for a hackney-coach,
directed the coachman to her lodgings, and bid him drive her home with
all the haste he could.
_In which Dr Harrison visits Colonel James._
The doctor, when he left Amelia, intended to go directly to Booth, but
he presently changed his mind, and determined first to call on the
colonel, as he thought it was proper to put an end to that matter
before he gave Booth his liberty.
The doctor found the two colonels, James and Bath, together. They both
received him very civilly, for James was a very well-bred man, and
Bath always shewed a particular respect to the clergy, he being indeed
a perfect good Christian, except in the articles of fighting and
Our divine sat some time without mentioning the subject of his errand,
in hopes that Bath would go away, but when he found no likelihood of
that (for indeed Bath was of the two much the most pleased with his
company), he told James that he had something to say to him relating
to Mr. Booth, which he believed he might speak before his brother.
"Undoubtedly, sir," said James; "for there can be no secrets between
us which my brother may not hear."
"I come then to you, sir," said the doctor, "from the most unhappy
woman in the world, to whose afflictions you have very greatly and
very cruelly added by sending a challenge to her husband, which hath
very luckily fallen into her hands; for, had the man for whom you
designed it received it, I am afraid you would not have seen me upon
"If I writ such a letter to Mr. Booth, sir," said James, "you may be
assured I did not expect this visit in answer to it."
[Illustration: Dr. Harrison.]
"I do not think you did," cries the doctor; "but you have great reason
to thank Heaven for ordering this matter contrary to your
expectations. I know not what trifle may have drawn this challenge
from you, but, after what I have some reason to know of you, sir, I
must plainly tell you that, if you had added to your guilt already
committed against this man, that of having his blood upon your hands,
your soul would have become as black as hell itself."
"Give me leave to say," cries the colonel, "this is a language which I
am not used to hear; and if your cloth was not your protection you
should not give it me with impunity. After what you know of me, sir!
What do you presume to know of me to my disadvantage?"
"You say my cloth is my protection, colonel," answered the doctor;
"therefore pray lay aside your anger: I do not come with any design of
affronting or offending you."
"Very well," cries Bath; "that declaration is sufficient from a
clergyman, let him say what he pleases."
"Indeed, sir," says the doctor very mildly, "I consult equally the
good of you both, and, in a spiritual sense, more especially yours;
for you know you have injured this poor man."
"So far on the contrary," cries James, "that I have been his greatest
benefactor. I scorn to upbraid him, but you force me to it. Nor have I
ever done him the least injury."
"Perhaps not," said the doctor; "I will alter what I have said. But
for this I apply to your honour--Have you not intended him an injury,
the very intention of which cancels every obligation?"
"How, sir?" answered the colonel; "what do you mean?"
"My meaning," replied the doctor, "is almost too tender to mention.
Come, colonel, examine your own heart, and then answer me, on your
honour, if you have not intended to do him the highest wrong which one
man can do another?"
"I do not know what you mean by the question," answered the colonel.
"D--n me, the question is very transparent! "cries Bath." From any
other man it would be an affront with the strongest emphasis, but from
one of the doctor's cloth it demands a categorical answer."
"I am not a papist, sir," answered Colonel James, "nor am I obliged to
confess to my priest. But if you have anything to say speak openly,
for I do not understand your meaning."
"I have explained my meaning to you already," said the doctor, "in a
letter I wrote to you on the subject--a subject which I am sorry I
should have any occasion to write upon to a Christian."
"I do remember now," cries the colonel, "that I received a very
impertinent letter, something like a sermon, against adultery; but I
did not expect to hear the author own it to my face."
"That brave man then, sir," answered the doctor, "stands before you
who dares own he wrote that letter, and dares affirm too that it was
writ on a just and strong foundation. But if the hardness of your
heart could prevail on you to treat my good intention with contempt
and scorn, what, pray, could induce you to shew it, nay, to give it
Mr. Booth? What motive could you have for that, unless you meant to
insult him, and provoke your rival to give you that opportunity of
putting him out of the world, which you have since wickedly sought by
"I give him the letter!" said the colonel.
"Yes, sir," answered the doctor, "he shewed me the letter, and
affirmed that you gave it him at the masquerade."
"He is a lying rascal, then!" said the colonel very passionately. "I
scarce took the trouble of reading the letter, and lost it out of my
Here Bath interfered, and explained this affair in the manner in which
it happened, and with which the reader is already acquainted. He
concluded by great eulogiums on the performance, and declared it was
one of the most enthusiastic (meaning, perhaps, ecclesiastic) letters
that ever was written. "And d--n me," says he, "if I do not respect
the author with the utmost emphasis of thinking."
The doctor now recollected what had passed with Booth, and perceived
he had made a mistake of one colonel for another. This he presently
acknowledged to Colonel James, and said that the mistake had been his,
and not Booth's.
Bath now collected all his gravity and dignity, as he called it, into
his countenance, and, addressing himself to James, said, "And was that
letter writ to you, brother?--I hope you never deserved any suspicion
of this kind."
"Brother," cries James, "I am accountable to myself for my actions,
and shall not render an account either to you or to that gentleman."
"As to me, brother," answered Bath, "you say right; but I think this
gentleman may call you to an account; nay, I think it is his duty so
to do. And let me tell you, brother, there is one much greater than he
to whom you must give an account. Mrs. Booth is really a fine woman, a
lady of most imperious and majestic presence. I have heard you often
say that you liked her; and, if you have quarrelled with her husband
upon this account, by all the dignity of man I think you ought to ask
"Indeed, brother," cries James, "I can bear this no longer--you will
make me angry presently."
"Angry! brother James," cries Bath; "angry!--I love you, brother, and
have obligations to you. I will say no more, but I hope you know I do
not fear making any man angry."
James answered he knew it well; and then the doctor, apprehending that
while he was stopping up one breach he should make another, presently
interfered, and turned the discourse back to Booth. "You tell me,
sir," said he to James, "that my gown is my protection; let it then at
least protect me where I have had no design in offending--where I have
consulted your highest welfare, as in truth I did in writing this
letter. And if you did not in the least deserve any such suspicion,
still you have no cause for resentment. Caution against sin, even to
the innocent, can never be unwholesome. But this I assure you,
whatever anger you have to me, you can have none to poor Booth, who
was entirely ignorant of my writing to you, and who, I am certain,
never entertained the least suspicion of you; on the contrary, reveres
you with the highest esteem, and love, and gratitude. Let me therefore
reconcile all matters between you, and bring you together before he
hath even heard of this challenge."
"Brother," cries Bath, "I hope I shall not make you angry--I lie when
I say so; for I am indifferent to any man's anger. Let me be an
accessory to what the doctor hath said. I think I may be trusted with
matters of this nature, and it is a little unkind that, if you
intended to send a challenge, you did not make me the bearer. But,
indeed, as to what appears to me, this matter may be very well made
up; and, as Mr. Booth doth not know of the challenge, I don't see why
he ever should, any more than your giving him the lie just now; but
that he shall never have from me, nor, I believe, from this gentleman;
for, indeed, if he should, it would be incumbent upon him to cut your
"Lookee, doctor," said James, "I do not deserve the unkind suspicion
you just now threw out against me. I never thirsted after any man's
blood; and, as for what hath passed, since this discovery hath
happened, I may, perhaps, not think it worth my while to trouble
myself any more about it."
The doctor was not contented with perhaps, he insisted on a firm
promise, to be bound with the colonel's honour. This at length he
obtained, and then departed well satisfied.
In fact, the colonel was ashamed to avow the real cause of the quarrel
to this good man, or, indeed, to his brother Bath, who would not only
have condemned him equally with the doctor, but would possibly have
quarrelled with him on his sister's account, whom, as the reader must
have observed, he loved above all things; and, in plain truth, though
the colonel was a brave man, and dared to fight, yet he was altogether
as willing to let it alone; and this made him now and then give a
little way to the wrongheadedness of Colonel Bath, who, with all the
other principles of honour and humanity, made no more of cutting the
throat of a man upon any of his punctilios than a butcher doth of
_What passed at the bailiff's house._
The doctor now set forwards to his friend Booth, and, as he past by
the door of his attorney in the way, he called upon him and took him
The meeting between him and Booth need not be expatiated on. The
doctor was really angry, and, though he deferred his lecture to a more
proper opportunity, yet, as he was no dissembler (indeed, he was
incapable of any disguise), he could not put on a show of that
heartiness with which he had formerly used to receive his friend.
Booth at last began himself in the following manner: "Doctor, I am
really ashamed to see you; and, if you knew the confusion of my soul
on this occasion, I am sure you would pity rather than upbraid me; and
yet I can say with great sincerity I rejoice in this last instance of
my shame, since I am like to reap the most solid advantage from it."
The doctor stared at this, and Booth thus proceeded: "Since I have
been in this wretched place I have employed my time almost entirely in
reading over a series of sermons which are contained in that book
(meaning Dr Barrow's works, which then lay on the table before him) in
proof of the Christian religion; and so good an effect have they had
upon me, that I shall, I believe, be the better man for them as long
as I live. I have not a doubt (for I own I have had such) which
remains now unsatisfied. If ever an angel might be thought to guide
the pen of a writer, surely the pen of that great and good man had
such an assistant." The doctor readily concurred in the praises of Dr
Barrow, and added, "You say you have had your doubts, young gentleman;
indeed, I did not know that--and, pray, what were your doubts?"
"Whatever they were, sir," said Booth, "they are now satisfied, as I
believe those of every impartial and sensible reader will be if he
will, with due attention, read over these excellent sermons." "Very
well," answered the doctor, "though I have conversed, I find, with a
false brother hitherto, I am glad you are reconciled to truth at last,
and I hope your future faith will have some influence on your future
life." "I need not tell you, sir," replied Booth, "that will always be
the case where faith is sincere, as I assure you mine is. Indeed, I
never was a rash disbeliever; my chief doubt was founded on this--
that, as men appeared to me to act entirely from their passions, their
actions could have neither merit nor demerit." "A very worthy
conclusion truly!" cries the doctor; "but if men act, as I believe
they do, from their passions, it would be fair to conclude that
religion to be true which applies immediately to the strongest of
these passions, hope and fear; chusing rather to rely on its rewards
and punishments than on that native beauty of virtue which some of the
antient philosophers thought proper to recommend to their disciples.
But we will defer this discourse till another opportunity; at present,
as the devil hath thought proper to set you free, I will try if I can
prevail on the bailiff to do the same."
The doctor had really not so much money in town as Booth's debt
amounted to, and therefore, though he would otherwise very willingly
have paid it, he was forced to give bail to the action. For which
purpose, as the bailiff was a man of great form, he was obliged to get
another person to be bound with him. This person, however, the
attorney undertook to procure, and immediately set out in quest of
During his absence the bailiff came into the room, and, addressing
himself to the doctor, said, "I think, sir, your name is Doctor
Harrison?" The doctor immediately acknowledged his name. Indeed, the
bailiff had seen it to a bail-bond before. "Why then, sir," said the
bailiff, "there is a man above in a dying condition that desires the
favour of speaking to you; I believe he wants you to pray by him."
The bailiff himself was not more ready to execute his office on all
occasions for his fee than the doctor was to execute his for nothing.
Without making any further enquiry therefore into the condition of the
man, he immediately went up-stairs.
As soon as the bailiff returned down-stairs, which was immediately
after he had lodged the doctor in the room, Booth had the curiosity to
ask him who this man was. "Why, I don't know much of him," said the
bailiff; "I had him once in custody before now: I remember it was when
your honour was here last; and now I remember, too, he said that he
knew your honour very well. Indeed, I had some opinion of him at that
time, for he spent his money very much like a gentleman; but I have
discovered since that he is a poor fellow, and worth nothing. He is a
mere shy cock; I have had the stuff about me this week, and could
never get at him till this morning; nay, I don't believe we should
ever have found out his lodgings had it not been for the attorney that
was here just now, who gave us information. And so we took him this
morning by a comical way enough; for we dressed up one of my men in
women's cloathes, who told the people of the house that he was his
sister, just come to town--for we were told by the attorney that he
had such a sister, upon which he was let up-stairs--and so kept the
door ajar till I and another rushed in. Let me tell you, captain,
there are as good stratagems made use of in our business as any in the
"But pray, sir," said Booth, "did not you tell me this morning that
the poor fellow was desperately wounded; nay, I think you told the
doctor that he was a dying man?" "I had like to have forgot that,"
cries the bailiff. "Nothing would serve the gentleman but that he must
make resistance, and he gave my man a blow with a stick; but I soon
quieted him by giving him a wipe or two with a hanger. Not that, I
believe, I have done his business neither; but the fellow is faint-
hearted, and the surgeon, I fancy, frightens him more than he need.
But, however, let the worst come to the worst, the law is all on my
side, and it is only _se fendendo_. The attorney that was here just
now told me so, and bid me fear nothing; for that he would stand my
friend, and undertake the cause; and he is a devilish good one at a
defence at the Old Bailey, I promise you. I have known him bring off
several that everybody thought would have been hanged."
"But suppose you should be acquitted," said Booth, "would not the
blood of this poor wretch lie a little heavy at your heart?"
"Why should it, captain?" said the bailiff. "Is not all done in a
lawful way? Why will people resist the law when they know the
consequence? To be sure, if a man was to kill another in an unlawful
manner as it were, and what the law calls murder, that is quite and
clear another thing. I should not care to be convicted of murder any
more than another man. Why now, captain, you have been abroad in the
wars they tell me, and to be sure must have killed men in your time.
Pray, was you ever afraid afterwards of seeing their ghosts?"
"That is a different affair," cries Booth; "but I would not kill a man
in cold blood for all the world."
"There is no difference at all, as I can see," cries the bailiff. "One
is as much in the way of business as the other. When gentlemen behave
themselves like unto gentlemen I know how to treat them as such as
well as any officer the king hath; and when they do not, why they must
take what follows, and the law doth not call it murder."
Booth very plainly saw that the bailiff had squared his conscience
exactly according to law, and that he could not easily subvert his way
of thinking. He therefore gave up the cause, and desired the bailiff
to expedite the bonds, which he promised to do; saying, he hoped he
had used him with proper civility this time, if he had not the last,
and that he should be remembered for it.
But before we close this chapter we shall endeavour to satisfy an
enquiry, which may arise in our most favourite readers (for so are the
most curious), how it came to pass that such a person as was Doctor
Harrison should employ such a fellow as this Murphy?
The case then was thus: this Murphy had been clerk to an attorney in
the very same town in which the doctor lived, and, when he was out of
his time, had set up with a character fair enough, and had married a
maid-servant of Mrs. Harris, by which means he had all the business to
which that lady and her friends, in which number was the doctor, could
Murphy went on with his business, and thrived very well, till he
happened to make an unfortunate slip, in which he was detected by a
brother of the same calling. But, though we call this by the gentle
name of a slip, in respect to its being so extremely common, it was a
matter in which the law, if it had ever come to its ears, would have
passed a very severe censure, being, indeed, no less than perjury and
subornation of perjury.
This brother attorney, being a very good-natured man, and unwilling to
bespatter his own profession, and considering, perhaps, that the
consequence did in no wise affect the public, who had no manner of
interest in the alternative whether A., in whom the right was, or B.,
to whom Mr. Murphy, by the means aforesaid, had transferred it,
succeeded in an action; we mention this particular, because, as this
brother attorney was a very violent party man, and a professed
stickler for the public, to suffer any injury to have been done to
that, would have been highly inconsistent with his principles.
This gentleman, therefore, came to Mr. Murphy, and, after shewing him
that he had it in his power to convict him of the aforesaid crime,
very generously told him that he had not the least delight in bringing
any man to destruction, nor the least animosity against him. All that
he insisted upon was, that he would not live in the same town or
county with one who had been guilty of such an action. He then told
Mr. Murphy that he would keep the secret on two conditions; the one
was, that he immediately quitted that country; the other was, that he
should convince him he deserved this kindness by his gratitude, and
that Murphy should transfer to the other all the business which he
then had in those parts, and to which he could possibly recommend him.
It is the observation of a very wise man, that it is a very common
exercise of wisdom in this world, of two evils to chuse the least. The
reader, therefore, cannot doubt but that Mr. Murphy complied with the
alternative proposed by his kind brother, and accepted the terms on
which secrecy was to be obtained.
This happened while the doctor was abroad, and with all this, except
the departure of Murphy, not only the doctor, but the whole town (save
his aforesaid brother alone), were to this day unacquainted.
The doctor, at his return, hearing that Mr. Murphy was gone, applied
to the other attorney in his affairs, who still employed this Murphy
as his agent in town, partly, perhaps, out of good will to him, and
partly from the recommendation of Miss Harris; for, as he had married
a servant of the family, and a particular favourite of hers, there can
be no wonder that she, who was entirely ignorant of the affair above
related, as well as of his conduct in town, should continue her favour
to him. It will appear, therefore, I apprehend, no longer strange that
the doctor, who had seen this man but three times since his removal to
town, and then conversed with him only on business, should remain as
ignorant of his life and character, as a man generally is of the
character of the hackney-coachman who drives him. Nor doth it reflect
more on the honour or understanding of the doctor, under these
circumstances, to employ Murphy, than it would if he had been driven
about the town by a thief or a murderer.
_What passed between the doctor and the sick man._
We left the doctor in the last chapter with the wounded man, to whom
the doctor, in a very gentle voice, spoke as follows:--
"I am sorry, friend, to see you in this situation, and am very ready
to give you any comfort or assistance within my power."
"I thank you kindly, doctor," said the man. "Indeed I should not have
presumed to have sent to you had I not known your character; for,
though I believe I am not at all known to you, I have lived many years
in that town where you yourself had a house; my name is Robinson. I
used to write for the attorneys in those parts, and I have been
employed on your business in my time."
"I do not recollect you nor your name," said the doctor; "but
consider, friend, your moments are precious, and your business, as I
am informed, is to offer up your prayers to that great Being before
whom you are shortly to appear. But first let me exhort you earnestly
to a most serious repentance of all your sins."
"O doctor!" said the man; "pray; what is your opinion of a death-bed
"If repentance is sincere," cries the doctor, "I hope, through the
mercies and merits of our most powerful and benign Intercessor, it
will never come too late."
"But do not you think, sir," cries the man, "that, in order to obtain
forgiveness of any great sin we have committed, by an injury done to
our neighbours, it is necessary, as far as in us lies, to make all the
amends we can to the party injured, and to undo, if possible, the
injury we have done?"
"Most undoubtedly," cries the doctor; "our pretence to repentance
would otherwise be gross hypocrisy, and an impudent attempt to deceive
and impose upon our Creator himself."
"Indeed, I am of the same opinion," cries the penitent; "and I think
further, that this is thrown in my way, and hinted to me by that great
Being; for an accident happened to me yesterday, by which, as things
have fallen out since, I think I plainly discern the hand of
Providence. I went yesterday, sir, you must know, to a pawnbroker's,
to pawn the last moveable, which, except the poor cloathes you see on
my back, I am worth in the world. While I was there a young lady came
in to pawn her picture. She had disguised herself so much, and pulled
her hood so over her face, that I did not know her while she stayed,
which was scarce three minutes. As soon as she was gone the
pawnbroker, taking the picture in his hand, cried out, _Upon my
word, this is the handsomest face I ever saw in my life!_ I desired
him to let me look on the picture, which he readily did--and I no
sooner cast my eyes upon it, than the strong resemblance struck me,
and I knew it to be Mrs. Booth."
"Mrs. Booth! what Mrs. Booth?" cries the doctor.
"Captain Booth's lady, the captain who is now below," said the other.
"How?" cries the doctor with great impetuosity.
"Have patience," said the man, "and you shall hear all. I expressed
some surprize to the pawnbroker, and asked the lady's name. He
answered, that he knew not her name; but that she was some undone
wretch, who had the day before left all her cloathes with him in pawn.
My guilt immediately flew in my face, and told me I had been accessory
to this lady's undoing. The sudden shock so affected me, that, had it
not been for a dram which the pawnbroker gave me, I believe I should
have sunk on the spot."
"Accessary to her undoing! how accessary?" said the doctor. "Pray tell
me, for I am impatient to hear."
"I will tell you all as fast as I can," cries the sick man. "You know,
good doctor, that Mrs. Harris of our town had two daughters, this Mrs.
Booth and another. Now, sir, it seems the other daughter had, some way
or other, disobliged her mother a little before the old lady died;
therefore she made a will, and left all her fortune, except one
thousand pound, to Mrs. Booth; to which will Mr. Murphy, myself, and
another who is now dead, were the witnesses. Mrs. Harris afterwards
died suddenly; upon which it was contrived by her other daughter and
Mr. Murphy to make a new will, in which Mrs. Booth had a legacy of ten
pound, and all the rest was given to the other. To this will, Murphy,
myself, and the same third person, again set our hands."
"Good Heaven! how wonderful is thy providence!" cries the doctor--
"Murphy, say you?"
"He himself, sir," answered Robinson; "Murphy, who is the greatest
rogue, I believe, now in the world."
"Pray, sir, proceed," cries the doctor.
"For this service, sir," said Robinson, "myself and the third person,
one Carter, received two hundred pound each. What reward Murphy
himself had I know not. Carter died soon afterwards; and from that
time, at several payments, I have by threats extorted above a hundred
pound more. And this, sir, is the whole truth, which I am ready to
testify if it would please Heaven to prolong my life."
"I hope it will," cries the doctor; "but something must be done for
fear of accidents. I will send to counsel immediately to know how to
secure your testimony.--Whom can I get to send?--Stay, ay--he will do
--but I know not where his house or his chambers are. I will go myself
--but I may be wanted here."
While the doctor was in this violent agitation the surgeon made his
appearance. The doctor stood still in a meditating posture, while the
surgeon examined his patient. After which the doctor begged him to
declare his opinion, and whether he thought the wounded man in any
immediate danger of death. "I do not know," answered the surgeon,
"what you call immediate. He may live several days--nay, he may
recover. It is impossible to give any certain opinion in these cases."
He then launched forth into a set of terms which the doctor, with all
his scholarship, could not understand. To say the truth, many of them
were not to be found in any dictionary or lexicon.
One discovery, however, the doctor made, and that was, that the
surgeon was a very ignorant, conceited fellow, and knew nothing of his
profession. He resolved, therefore, to get better advice for the sick;
but this he postponed at present, and, applying himself to the
surgeon, said, "He should be very much obliged to him if he knew where
to find such a counsellor, and would fetch him thither. I should not
ask such a favour of you, sir," says the doctor, "if it was not on
business of the last importance, or if I could find any other
"I fetch, sir!" said the surgeon very angrily. "Do you take me for a
footman or a porter? I don't know who you are; but I believe you are
full as proper to go on such an errand as I am." (For as the doctor,
who was just come off his journey, was very roughly dressed, the
surgeon held him in no great respect.) The surgeon then called aloud
from the top of the stairs, "Let my coachman draw up," and strutted
off without any ceremony, telling his patient he would call again the
At this very instant arrived Murphy with the other bail, and, finding
Booth alone, he asked the bailiff at the door what was become of the
doctor? "Why, the doctor," answered he, "is above-stairs, praying with
-----." "How!" cries Murphy. "How came you not to carry him directly
to Newgate, as you promised me?" "Why, because he was wounded," cries
the bailiff. "I thought it was charity to take care of him; and,
besides, why should one make more noise about the matter than is
necessary?" "And Doctor Harrison with him?" said Murphy. "Yes, he is,"
said the bailiff; "he desired to speak with the doctor very much, and
they have been praying together almost this hour." "All is up and
undone!" cries Murphy. "Let me come by, I have thought of something
which I must do immediately."
Now, as by means of the surgeon's leaving the door open the doctor
heard Murphy's voice naming Robinson peevishly, he drew softly to the
top of the stairs, where he heard the foregoing dialogue; and as soon
as Murphy had uttered his last words, and was moving downwards, the
doctor immediately sallied from his post, running as fast as he could,
and crying, Stop the villain! stop the thief!
The attorney wanted no better hint to accelerate his pace; and, having
the start of the doctor, got downstairs, and out into the street; but
the doctor was so close at his heels, and being in foot the nimbler of
the two, he soon overtook him, and laid hold of him, as he would have
done on either Broughton or Slack in the same cause.
This action in the street, accompanied with the frequent cry of Stop
thief by the doctor during the chase, presently drew together a large
mob, who began, as is usual, to enter immediately upon business, and
to make strict enquiry into the matter, in order to proceed to do
justice in their summary way.
Murphy, who knew well the temper of the mob, cried out, "If you are a
bailiff, shew me your writ. Gentlemen, he pretends to arrest me here
without a writ."
Upon this, one of the sturdiest and forwardest of the mob, and who by
a superior strength of body and of lungs presided in this assembly,
declared he would suffer no such thing. "D--n me," says he, "away to
the pump with the catchpole directly--shew me your writ, or let the
gentleman go--you shall not arrest a man contrary to law."
He then laid his hands on the doctor, who, still fast griping the
attorney, cried out, "He is a villain--I am no bailiff, but a
clergyman, and this lawyer is guilty of forgery, and hath ruined a
"How!" cries the spokesman--"a lawyer!--that alters the case."
"Yes, faith," cries another of the mob, "it is lawyer Murphy. I know
him very well."
"And hath he ruined a poor family?--like enough, faith, if he's a
lawyer. Away with him to the justice immediately."
The bailiff now came up, desiring to know what was the matter; to whom
Doctor Harrison answered that he had arrested that villain for a
forgery. "How can you arrest him?" cries the bailiff; "you are no
officer, nor have any warrant. Mr. Murphy is a gentleman, and he shall
be used as such."
"Nay, to be sure," cries the spokesman, "there ought to be a warrant;
that's the truth on't."
"There needs no warrant," cries the doctor. "I accuse him of felony;
and I know so much of the law of England, that any man may arrest a
felon without any warrant whatever. This villain hath undone a poor
family; and I will die on the spot before I part with him."
"If the law be so," cries the orator, "that is another matter. And to
be sure, to ruin a poor man is the greatest of sins. And being a
lawyer too makes it so much the worse. He shall go before the justice,
d--n me if he shan't go before the justice! I says the word, he
"I say he is a gentleman, and shall be used according to law," cries
the bailiff; "and, though you are a clergyman," said he to Harrison,
"you don't shew yourself as one by your actions."
"That's a bailiff," cries one of the mob: "one lawyer will always
stand by another; but I think the clergyman is a very good man, and
acts becoming a clergyman, to stand by the poor."
At which words the mob all gave a great shout, and several cried out,
"Bring him along, away with him to the justice!"
And now a constable appeared, and with an authoritative voice declared
what he was, produced his staff, and demanded the peace.
The doctor then delivered his prisoner over to the officer, and
charged him with felony; the constable received him, the attorney
submitted, the bailiff was hushed, and the waves of the mob
The doctor now balanced with himself how he should proceed: at last he
determined to leave Booth a little longer in captivity, and not to
quit sight of Murphy before he had lodged him safe with a magistrate.
They then all moved forwards to the justice; the constable and his
prisoner marching first, the doctor and the bailiff following next,
and about five thousand mob (for no less number were assembled in a
very few minutes) following in the procession.
They found the magistrate just sitting down to his dinner; however,
when he was acquainted with the doctor's profession, he immediately
admitted him, and heard his business; which he no sooner perfectly
understood, with all its circumstances, than he resolved, though it
was then very late, and he had been fatigued all the morning with
public business, to postpone all refreshment till he had discharged
his duty. He accordingly adjourned the prisoner and his cause to the
bailiff's house, whither he himself, with the doctor, immediately
repaired, and whither the attorney was followed by a much larger
number of attendants than he had been honoured with before.
_In which the history draws towards a conclusion._
Nothing could exceed the astonishment of Booth at the behaviour of the
doctor at the time when he sallied forth in pursuit of the attorney;
for which it was so impossible for him to account in any manner
whatever. He remained a long time in the utmost torture of mind, till
at last the bailif's wife came to him, and asked him if the doctor was
not a madman? and, in truth, he could hardly defend him from that
While he was in this perplexity the maid of the house brought him a
message from Robinson, desiring the favour of seeing him above-stairs.
With this he immediately complied.
When these two were alone together, and the key turned on them (for
the bailiff's wife was a most careful person, and never omitted that
ceremony in the absence of her husband, having always at her tongue's
end that excellent proverb of "Safe bind, safe find"), Robinson,
looking stedfastly upon Booth, said, "I believe, sir, you scarce
Booth answered that he thought he had seen his face somewhere before,
but could not then recollect when or where.
"Indeed, sir," answered the man, "it was a place which no man can
remember with pleasure. But do you not remember, a few weeks ago, that
you had the misfortune to be in a certain prison in this town, where
you lost a trifling sum at cards to a fellow-prisoner?"
This hint sufficiently awakened Booth's memory, and he now recollected
the features of his old friend Robinson. He answered him a little
surlily, "I know you now very well, but I did not imagine you would
ever have reminded me of that transaction."
"Alas, sir!" answered Robinson, "whatever happened then was very
trifling compared to the injuries I have done you; but if my life be
spared long enough I will now undo it all: and, as I have been one of
your worst enemies, I will now be one of your best friends."
He was just entering upon his story when a noise was heard below which
might be almost compared to what have been heard in Holland when the
dykes have given way, and the ocean in an inundation breaks in upon
the land. It seemed, indeed, as if the whole world was bursting into
the house at once.
Booth was a man of great firmness of mind, and he had need of it all
at this instant. As for poor Robinson, the usual concomitants of guilt
attended him, and he began to tremble in a violent manner.
The first person who ascended the stairs was the doctor, who no sooner
saw Booth than he ran to him and embraced him, crying, "My child, I
wish you joy with all my heart. Your sufferings are all at an end, and
Providence hath done you the justice at last which it will, one day or
other, render to all men. You will hear all presently; but I can now
only tell you that your sister is discovered and the estate is your
Booth was in such confusion that he scarce made any answer, and now
appeared the justice and his clerk, and immediately afterwards the
constable with his prisoner, the bailiff, and as many more as could
possibly crowd up-stairs.
The doctor now addressed himself to the sick man, and desired him to
repeat the same information before the justice which he had made
already; to which Robinson readily consented.
While the clerk was taking down the information, the attorney
expressed a very impatient desire to send instantly for his clerk, and
expressed so much uneasiness at the confusion in which he had left his
papers at home, that a thought suggested itself to the doctor that, if
his house was searched, some lights and evidence relating to this
affair would certainly be found; he therefore desired the justice to
grant a search-warrant immediately to search his house.
The justice answered that he had no such power; that, if there was any
suspicion of stolen goods, he could grant a warrant to search for
"How, sir!" said the doctor, "can you grant a warrant to search a
man's house for a silver tea-spoon, and not in a case like this, where
a man is robbed of his whole estate?"
"Hold, sir," says the sick man; "I believe I can answer that point;
for I can swear he hath several title-deeds of the estate now in his
possession, which I am sure were stolen from the right owner."
The justice still hesitated. He said title-deeds savoured of the
Realty, and it was not felony to steal them. If, indeed, they were
taken away in a box, then it would be felony to steal the box.
"Savour of the Realty! Savour of the f--talty," said the doctor. "I
never heard such incomprehensible nonsense. This is impudent, as well
as childish trifling with the lives and properties of men."
"Well, sir," said Robinson, "I now am sure I can do his business; for
I know he hath a silver cup in his possession which is the property of
this gentleman (meaning Booth), and how he got it but by stealth let
him account if he can."
"That will do," cries the justice with great pleasure. "That will do;
and if you will charge him on oath with that, I will instantly grant
my warrant to search his house for it." "And I will go and see it
executed," cries the doctor; for it was a maxim of his, that no man
could descend below himself in doing any act which may contribute to
protect an innocent person, or to bring a rogue to the gallows.
The oath was instantly taken, the warrant signed, and the doctor
attended the constable in the execution of it.
The clerk then proceeded in taking the information of Robinson, and
had just finished it, when the doctor returned with the utmost joy in
his countenance, and declared that he had sufficient evidence of the
fact in his possession. He had, indeed, two or three letters from Miss
Harris in answer to the attorney's frequent demands of money for
secrecy, that fully explained the whole villany.
The justice now asked the prisoner what he had to say for himself, or
whether he chose to say anything in his own defence.
"Sir," said the attorney, with great confidence, "I am not to defend
myself here. It will be of no service to me; for I know you neither
can nor will discharge me. But I am extremely innocent of all this
matter, as I doubt not but to make appear to the satisfaction of a
court of justice."
The legal previous ceremonies were then gone through of binding over
the prosecutor, &c., and then the attorney was committed to Newgate,
whither he was escorted amidst the acclamations of the populace.
When Murphy was departed, and a little calm restored in the house, the
justice made his compliments of congratulation to Booth, who, as well
as he could in his present tumult of joy, returned his thanks to both
the magistrate and the doctor. They were now all preparing to depart,
when Mr. Bondum stept up to Booth, and said, "Hold, sir, you have
forgot one thing--you have not given bail yet."
This occasioned some distress at this time, for the attorney's friend
was departed; but when the justice heard this, he immediately offered
himself as the other bondsman, and thus ended the affair.
It was now past six o'clock, and none of the gentlemen had yet dined.
They very readily, therefore, accepted the magistrate's invitation,
and went all together to his house.
And now the very first thing that was done, even before they sat down
to dinner, was to dispatch a messenger to one of the best surgeons in
town to take care of Robinson, and another messenger to Booth's
lodgings to prevent Amelia's concern at their staying so long.
The latter, however, was to little purpose; for Amelia's patience had
been worn out before, and she had taken a hackney-coach and driven to
the bailiff's, where she arrived a little after the departure of her
husband, and was thence directed to the justice's.
Though there was no kind of reason for Amelia's fright at hearing that
her husband and Doctor Harrison were gone before the justice, and
though she indeed imagined that they were there in the light of
complainants, not of offenders, yet so tender were her fears for her
husband, and so much had her gentle spirits been lately agitated, that
she had a thousand apprehensions of she knew not what. When she
arrived, therefore, at the house, she ran directly into the room where
all the company were at dinner, scarce knowing what she did or whither
she was going.
She found her husband in such a situation, and discovered such
chearfulness in his countenance, that so violent a turn was given to
her spirits that she was just able, with the assistance of a glass of
water, to support herself. She soon, however, recovered her calmness,
and in a little time began to eat what might indeed be almost called
The justice now wished her joy of what had happened that day, for
which she kindly thanked him, apprehending he meant the liberty of her
husband. His worship might perhaps have explained himself more largely
had not the doctor given him a timely wink; for this wise and good man
was fearful of making such a discovery all at once to Amelia, lest it
should overpower her, and luckily the justice's wife was not well
enough acquainted with the matter to say anything more on it than
barely to assure the lady that she joined in her husband's
Amelia was then in a clean white gown, which she had that day
redeemed, and was, indeed, dressed all over with great neatness and
exactness; with the glow therefore which arose in her features from
finding her husband released from his captivity, she made so charming
a figure, that she attracted the eyes of the magistrate and of his
wife, and they both agreed when they were alone that they had never
seen so charming a creature; nay, Booth himself afterwards told her
that he scarce ever remembered her to look so extremely beautiful as
she did that evening.
Whether Amelia's beauty, or the reflexion on the remarkable act of
justice he had performed, or whatever motive filled the magistrate
with extraordinary good humour, and opened his heart and cellars, I
will not determine; but he gave them so hearty a welcome, and they
were all so pleased with each other, that Amelia, for that one night,
trusted the care of her children to the woman where they lodged, nor
did the company rise from table till the clock struck eleven.
They then separated. Amelia and Booth, having been set down at their
lodgings, retired into each other's arms; nor did Booth that evening,
by the doctor's advice, mention one word of the grand affair to his
_Thus this history draws nearer to a conclusion._
In the morning early Amelia received the following letter from Mrs.
"The surgeon of the regiment, to which the captain my husband lately
belonged, and who came this evening to see the captain, hath almost
frightened me out of my wits by a strange story of your husband being
committed to prison by a justice of peace for forgery. For Heaven's
sake send me the truth. If my husband can be of any service, weak as
he is, he will be carried in a chair to serve a brother officer for
whom he hath a regard, which I need not mention. Or if the sum of
twenty pound will be of any service to you, I will wait upon you with
it the moment I can get my cloaths on, the morning you receive this;
for it is too late to send to-night. The captain begs his hearty
service and respects, and believe me,
Your ever affectionate friend,
and humble servant,
When Amelia read this letter to Booth they were both equally
surprized, she at the commitment for forgery, and he at seeing such a
letter from Mrs. Atkinson; for he was a stranger yet to the
reconciliation that had happened.
Booth's doubts were first satisfied by Amelia, from which he received
great pleasure; for he really had a very great affection and fondness
for Mr. Atkinson, who, indeed, so well deserved it. "Well, my dear,"
said he to Amelia, smiling, "shall we accept this generous offer?"
"O fy! no, certainly," answered she.
"Why not?" cries Booth; "it is but a trifle; and yet it will be of
great service to us."
"But consider, my dear," said she, "how ill these poor people can
"They can spare it for a little while," said Booth, "and we shall soon
pay it them again."
"When, my dear?" said Amelia. "Do, my dear Will, consider our wretched
circumstances. I beg you let us go into the country immediately, and
live upon bread and water till Fortune pleases to smile upon us."
"I am convinced that day is not far off," said Booth. "However, give
me leave to send an answer to Mrs. Atkinson, that we shall be glad of
her company immediately to breakfast."
"You know I never contradict you," said she, "but I assure you it is
contrary to my inclinations to take this money."
"Well, suffer me," cries he, "to act this once contrary to your
inclinations." He then writ a short note to Mrs. Atkinson, and
dispatched it away immediately; which when he had done, Amelia said,
"I shall be glad of Mrs. Atkinson's company to breakfast; but yet I
wish you would oblige me in refusing this money. Take five guineas
only. That is indeed such a sum as, if we never should pay it, would
sit light on my mind. The last persons in the world from whom I would
receive favours of that sort are the poor and generous."
"You can receive favours only from the generous," cries Booth; "and,
to be plain with you, there are very few who are generous that are not
"What think you," said she, "of Dr Harrison?"
"I do assure you," said Booth, "he is far from being rich. The doctor
hath an income of little more than six hundred pound a-year, and I am
convinced he gives away four of it. Indeed, he is one of the best
economists in the world: but yet I am positive he never was at any
time possessed of five hundred pound, since he hath been a man.
Consider, dear Emily, the late obligations we have to this gentleman;
it would be unreasonable to expect more, at least at present; my half-
pay is mortgaged for a year to come. How then shall we live?"
"By our labour," answered she; "I am able to labour, and I am sure I
am not ashamed of it."
"And do you really think you can support such a life?"
"I am sure I could be happy in it," answered Amelia. "And why not I as
well as a thousand others, who have not the happiness of such a
husband to make life delicious? why should I complain of my hard fate
while so many who are much poorer than I enjoy theirs? Am I of a
superior rank of being to the wife of the honest labourer? am I not
partaker of one common nature with her?"
"My angel," cries Booth, "it delights me to hear you talk thus, and
for a reason you little guess; for I am assured that one who can so
heroically endure adversity, will bear prosperity with equal greatness
of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former, is not
likely to be transported with the latter."
"If it had pleased Heaven," cried she, "to have tried me, I think, at
least I hope, I should have preserved my humility."
"Then, my dear," said he, "I will relate you a dream I had last night.
You know you lately mentioned a dream of yours."
"Do so," said she; "I am attentive."
"I dreamt," said he, "this night, that we were in the most miserable
situation imaginable; indeed, in the situation we were yesterday
morning, or rather worse; that I was laid in a prison for debt, and
that you wanted a morsel of bread to feed the mouths of your hungry
children. At length (for nothing you know is quicker than the
transition in dreams) Dr Harrison methought came to me, with
chearfulness and joy in his countenance. The prison-doors immediately
flew open, and Dr Harrison introduced you, gayly though not richly
dressed. That you gently chid me for staying so long. All on a sudden
appeared a coach with four horses to it, in which was a maid-servant
with our two children. We both immediately went into the coach, and,
taking our leave of the doctor, set out towards your country-house;
for yours I dreamt it was. I only ask you now, if this was real, and
the transition almost as sudden, could you support it?"
Amelia was going to answer, when Mrs. Atkinson came into the room, and
after very little previous ceremony, presented Booth with a bank-note,
which he received of her, saying he would very soon repay it; a
promise that a little offended Amelia, as she thought he had no chance
of keeping it.
The doctor presently arrived, and the company sat down to breakfast,
during which Mrs. Atkinson entertained them with the history of the
doctors that had attended her husband, by whose advice Atkinson was
recovered from everything but the weakness which his distemper had
When the tea-table was removed Booth told the doctor that he had
acquainted his wife with a dream he had last night. "I dreamt,
doctor," said he, "that she was restored to her estate."
"Very well," said the doctor; "and if I am to be the Oneiropolus, I
believe the dream will come to pass. To say the truth, I have rather a
better opinion of dreams than Horace had. Old Homer says they come
from Jupiter; and as to your dream, I have often had it in my waking
thoughts, that some time or other that roguery (for so I was always
convinced it was) would be brought to light; for the same Homer says,
as you, madam (meaning Mrs. Atkinson), very well know,
[Footnote: "If Jupiter doth not immediately execute his
vengeance, he will however execute it at last; and their
transgressions shall fall heavily on their own heads, and on their
wives and children."]
"I have no Greek ears, sir," said Mrs. Atkinson. "I believe I could
understand it in the Delphin Homer."
"I wish," cries he, "my dear child (to Amelia), you would read a
little in the Delphin Aristotle, or else in some Christian divine, to
learn a doctrine which you will one day have a use for. I mean to bear
the hardest of all human conflicts, and support with an even temper,
and without any violent transports of mind, a sudden gust of
"Indeed," cries Amelia, "I should almost think my husband and you,
doctor, had some very good news to tell me, by your using, both of
you, the same introduction. As far as I know myself, I think I can
answer I can support any degree of prosperity, and I think I yesterday
shewed I could: for I do assure you, it is not in the power of fortune
to try me with such another transition from grief to joy, as I
conceived from seeing my husband in prison and at liberty."
"Well, you are a good girl," cries the doctor, "and after I have put
on my spectacles I will try you."
The doctor then took out a newspaper, and read as follows:
"'Yesterday one Murphy, an eminent attorney-at-law, was committed to
Newgate for the forgery of a will under which an estate hath been for
many years detained from the right owner.'
"Now in this paragraph there is something very remarkable, and that
is--that it is true: but _opus est explanatu_. In the Delphin edition
of this newspaper there is the following note upon the words right
owner:--'The right owner of this estate is a young lady of the highest
merit, whose maiden name was Harris, and who some time since was
married to an idle fellow, one Lieutenant Booth. And the best
historians assure us that letters from the elder sister of this lady,
which manifestly prove the forgery and clear up the whole affair, are
in the hands of an old Parson called Doctor Harrison.'"
"And is this really true?" cries Amelia.
"Yes, really and sincerely," cries the doctor. "The whole estate; for
your mother left it you all, and is as surely yours as if you was
already in possession."
"Gracious Heaven!" cries she, falling on her knees, "I thank you!" And
then starting up, she ran to her husband, and, embracing him, cried,
"My dear love, I wish you joy; and I ought in gratitude to wish it
you; for you are the cause of mine. It is upon yours and my children's
account that I principally rejoice."
Mrs. Atkinson rose from her chair, and jumped about the room for joy,
_Turne, quod oplanti divum promittere nemo
Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro._
[Footnote: "What none of all the Gods could grant thy vows,
That, Turnus, this auspicious day bestows."]
Amelia now threw herself into a chair, complained she was a little
faint, and begged a glass of water. The doctor advised her to be
blooded; but she refused, saying she required a vent of another kind.
She then desired her children to be brought to her, whom she
immediately caught in her arms, and, having profusely cried over them
for several minutes, declared she was easy. After which she soon
regained her usual temper and complexion.
That day they dined together, and in the afternoon they all, except
the doctor, visited Captain Atkinson; he repaired to the bailiff's
house to visit the sick man, whom he found very chearful, the surgeon
having assured him that he was in no danger.
The doctor had a long spiritual discourse with Robinson, who assured
him that he sincerely repented of his past life, that he was resolved
to lead his future days in a different manner, and to make what amends
he could for his sins to the society, by bringing one of the greatest
rogues in it to justice. There was a circumstance which much pleased
the doctor, and made him conclude that, however Robinson had been
corrupted by his old master, he had naturally a good disposition. This
was, that Robinson declared he was chiefly induced to the discovery by
what had happened at the pawnbroker's, and by the miseries which he
there perceived he had been instrumental in bringing on Booth and his
The next day Booth and his wife, at the doctor's instance, dined with
Colonel James and his lady, where they were received with great
civility, and all matters were accommodated without Booth ever knowing
a syllable of the challenge even to this day.
The doctor insisted very strongly on having Miss Harris taken into
custody, and said, if she was his sister, he would deliver her to
justice. He added besides, that it was impossible to skreen her and
carry on the prosecution, or, indeed, recover the estate. Amelia at
last begged the delay of one day only, in which time she wrote a
letter to her sister, informing her of the discovery, and the danger
in which she stood, and begged her earnestly to make her escape, with
many assurances that she would never suffer her to know any distress.
This letter she sent away express, and it had the desired effect; for
Miss Harris, having received sufficient information from the attorney
to the same purpose, immediately set out for Poole, and from thence to
France, carrying with her all her money, most of her cloaths, and some
few jewels. She had, indeed, packed up plate and jewels to the value
of two thousand pound and upwards. But Booth, to whom Amelia
communicated the letter, prevented her by ordering the man that went
with the express (who had been a serjeant of the foot-guards
recommended to him by Atkinson) to suffer the lady to go whither she
pleased, but not to take anything with her except her cloaths, which
he was carefully to search. These orders were obeyed punctually, and
with these she was obliged to comply.
Two days after the bird was flown a warrant from the lord chief
justice arrived to take her up, the messenger of which returned with
the news of her flight, highly to the satisfaction of Amelia, and
consequently of Booth, and, indeed, not greatly to the grief of the
About a week afterwards Booth and Amelia, with their children, and
Captain Atkinson and his lady, all set forward together for Amelia's
house, where they arrived amidst the acclamations of all the
neighbours, and every public demonstration of joy.
They found the house ready prepared to receive them by Atkinson's
friend the old serjeant, and a good dinner prepared for them by
Amelia's old nurse, who was addressed with the utmost duty by her son
and daughter, most affectionately caressed by Booth and his wife, and
by Amelia's absolute command seated next to herself at the table. At
which, perhaps, were assembled some of the best and happiest people
then in the world.
_In which the history is concluded._
Having brought our history to a conclusion, as to those points in
which we presume our reader was chiefly interested, in the foregoing
chapter, we shall in this, by way of epilogue, endeavour to satisfy
his curiosity as to what hath since happened to the principal
personages of whom we have treated in the foregoing pages.
Colonel James and his lady, after living in a polite manner for many
years together, at last agreed to live in as polite a manner asunder.
The colonel hath kept Miss Matthews ever since, and is at length grown
to doat on her (though now very disagreeable in her person, and
immensely fat) to such a degree, that he submits to be treated by her
in the most tyrannical manner.
He allows his lady eight hundred pound a-year, with which she divides
her time between Tunbridge, Bath, and London, and passes about nine
hours in the twenty-four at cards. Her income is lately increased by
three thousand pound left her by her brother Colonel Bath, who was
killed in a duel about six years ago by a gentleman who told the
colonel he differed from him in opinion.
The noble peer and Mrs. Ellison have been both dead several years, and
both of the consequences of their favourite vices; Mrs. Ellison having
fallen a martyr to her liquor, and the other to his amours, by which
he was at last become so rotten that he stunk above-ground.
The attorney, Murphy, was brought to his trial at the Old Bailey,
where, after much quibbling about the meaning of a very plain act of
parliament, he was at length convicted of forgery, and was soon
afterwards hanged at Tyburn.
The witness for some time seemed to reform his life, and received a
small pension from Booth; after which he returned to vicious courses,
took a purse on the highway, was detected and taken, and followed the
last steps of his old master. So apt are men whose manners have been
once thoroughly corrupted, to return, from any dawn of an amendment,
into the dark paths of vice.
As to Miss Harris, she lived three years with a broken heart at
Boulogne, where she received annually fifty pound from her sister, who
was hardly prevailed on by Dr Harrison not to send her a hundred, and
then died in a most miserable manner.
Mr. Atkinson upon the whole hath led a very happy life with his wife,
though he hath been sometimes obliged to pay proper homage to her
superior understanding and knowledge. This, however, he chearfully
submits to, and she makes him proper returns of fondness. They have
two fine boys, of whom they are equally fond. He is lately advanced to
the rank of captain, and last summer both he and his wife paid a visit
of three months to Booth and his wife.
Dr Harrison is grown old in years and in honour, beloved and respected
by all his parishioners and by all his neighbours. He divides his time
between his parish, his old town, and Booth's--at which last place he
had, two years ago, a gentle fit of the gout, being the first attack
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